Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fairy Tale

This is a book "review" of the novel Fairy Tale by Walt Foreman (available at amazon also), who happens to be my best friend's brother though I don't really know Walt at all.

First of all, I recommend this book to everyone I know. I'll get to the reasons why soon enough, but since this is a very casual and 'off the cuff' review there are some other things I want to explain. If you're looking for more standard reviews please do click the links above or do your own google search. :-)

It is certainly no reflection on Walt's writing and book that it has taken me about 2.5 years to complete it (today). That actually is my own weird quirk about reading, and that I finished it at all should be seen as a sign of my fondness for it. In the months, years probably, between readings the story never left me completely and I frequently told myself to just go ahead and finish it already. But it is very difficult for me to sit still long enough to read fiction because there are so many other things that I want to do with my limited 'free' time. Usually I'm more interested in making things or thinking my own thoughts instead of reading someone else's imaginations, fantasies, and dreams. Okay, so maybe I'm a little selfish, but whatever. This isn't supposed to be about me anyway. ;-)

I thoroughly enjoyed Walt's style of writing which is pretty similar to the way that I think, with lots of long (and short) parentheticals, tangents, and skipping (sometimes wildly) from one topic or place to another. If you can't keep up with that kind of flow then you probably wouldn't like Fairy Tale. But I will say that Walt is a much better (and better trained) writer than I pretend to be, though sometimes he's a little heavy on the ostentatious vocabulary (but it sort of works because it adds to the tone and mood of the story and so on).

Basically, it is a story of unrequited love. Haven't we all had that experience? But the depth of emotion and obsession is impressive in this story and that is why I like it so much. As Walt attempts a pilgrimage to reclaim his beloved Abigail he encounters an amazing and hilarious bunch of characters that are probably closer to reality than most people, other than rural Tennesseans, realize. The outrageousness of his pilgrimage entertains as it reveals Walt's internal struggles with his love and obsession with Abigail.

I was intensely frustrated. My pilgrimage had devolved into beer and tortilla chips and a fishing show. The earth was hurtling through space, time was marching forward and I was moving no closer to my love. My love was at that moment quite likely forgetting me more than she had the moment before; I would soon be no more than a successfully repressed memory. How could this be called a pilgrimage?

Well, I've taken my own ill-fated pilgrimage many years ago, though it was quite different from Fairy Tale and I can't really describe it without needlessly reopening old wounds. However, it had it's fair share of drama, pleasant surprises, magic, frustration, and heartbreak. Perhaps that experience influenced my reading and (possibly) perverse pleasure in Fairy Tale. Maybe I shouldn't admit to having had many of the exact same thoughts and feelings described by Walt. Maybe Walt is really as insane as I can be? (please, dear Walt, if you ever read this, don't take offense at my amateur psychoanalysis as it is meant as a true compliment because I'm a little bit proud of the creativity, which seems pretty similar to your own, that is likely a side-effect of my mental instabilities/peculiarities)

Okay, this isn't much of a review so I should probably try to focus. I found Fairy Tale very poetic at times, and at others I found myself absorbed in the indulgent sensual descriptions of the world of Fairy Tale. I found myself wondering if Walt might have been smoking some good weed, though from what his sister has said that is probably not the case (but there should be no shame, Walt, if you might have done it). Was there anything I didn't like about the book? No not really, not anything that especially bothered me because I reminded myself that this is a Fairy Tale (even if somewhat autobiographical) and it is all about one man's obsession, fantasies, dreams, delusions, hallucinations, and faith in his version of God. (It might be a little preachy at times to those inclined away from Fundamentalist Christianity, but I didn't find the religious parts so bothersome.)

Have I said everything I meant to say? Oh, okay, a couple more things. While reading, I found myself thinking, "Well, I don't have to write this kind of story now because Walt has already done it well enough and I can just tell people to read it if they would like a peek into what is sometimes happening in my own often chaotic mind." Another thing I probably shouldn't admit to is that I almost like the idea of a man being so "in love" and obsessed with me that he would write an entire novel to try to win my heart, but surely that is just a symptom of my own madness. ;-) And although I might be privy to some extra knowledge about the backstory, etc, I still very much enjoyed reading this book and hope that Walt will continue writing and making movies.

Good luck, Walt, and thanks for writing some fiction that I actually invested my time to read.

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